12 October 2012

Raddatz/Lehrer Debate a Draw, Undecided Voters Say

Moderator Raddatz.

ANN ARBOR, MI -- Last night’s debate between Martha Raddatz (ABC) and Jim Lehrer (PBS) at the University of Michigan’s Crisler Center ended in violence and drew sharp contrasts between each moderator’s moderating policies but left undecided voters unsure which moderator, if either, was the victor.

“I just felt that neither Martha nor Jim showed me what it really takes to moderate a debate that serves all the debate viewers, especially the moderates,” said Ann Bivalent, a self-described independent viewer from Cincinnati. “Is it better to be vague and somewhat dull, permitting the candidates to shape their own responses, or to be aggressive and detailed, keeping the candidates in line? I’m just not sure.”

Former U.S. Senator Bob Dole (R–KS), himself a veteran of debates in 1976 and 1996, moderated last night’s debate, but the opposing moderators wasted little time before directly confronting each other. Lehrer was first, about 5 minutes into the debate, when he asked, “Martha, how does your moderating style differ from mine?”

Moderator Dole.

Raddatz in turn hammered Lehrer for details on how much of his PBS Newshour budget comes from taxpayer dollars and how much is diverted from the marketing income from sales of toys, games, videos and other products related to another PBS program, Sesame Street.

Grinning, rolling her eyes, and shaking her head disdainfully throughout the 90-minute joint appearance, Raddatz asked, “Is Gwen Ifill eating out of Big Bird’s soft, feathery paw? Is this another case of Trickle-Me Elmo economics?” She also referred to one Newshour anchor as “Mrs. Woodruffupagus.”

“It’s all about mathematics, Jim,” Raddatz insisted. “Subtract x number of cookies from y number of cookies.”

Without waiting for Lehrer’s response, she addressed the camera, saying, “You see, folks? His subtraction just doesn’t add up.”

Raddatz abruptly cut herself off, saying, “Let’s move on to the next topic now.” Lehrer responded with a lengthy synopsis of his next “One-Eyed Mack” novel.

Dole repeatedly tried without success to get the moderators back on track, asking whether either or both would be willing to pledge to bail out Frito–Lay, the makers of Doritos™ Brand snack chips; and Pfizer, the makers of Viagra®, in the event of another economic crisis.

Overnight polling showed undecided voters evenly split, with 27 percent agreeing with the statement, “I feel that Martha Raddatz understands the needs of a viewer like me,” 26 percent agreeing with the statement, “I feel that Jim Lehrer understands the needs of a viewer like me,” and 47 percent undecided. The margin of error was plus or minus 98 percent.

“Jesus H. Christ, what is wrong with you people?” Gallup Organization Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton said, in response to the polling results.

University of Michigan campus security officers report 86 injured and 3 dead in the mayhem that erupted at the Crisler Center immediately following the event. Raddatz and Lehrer are scheduled to debate 18 more times before election day.

Moderator Lehrer.

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